A year ago, Plaquemine High bucked District 6-4A tradition to notch a signature victory over Lutcher High en route to the Class 4A quarterfinals.
Can Lutcher return the favor a year later? That’s a major question as local teams in Class 5A-4A go into Week 8 of the high school football season.
“We expect Lutcher to bring their best, their ‘A’ game, and we’d better be ready to give them ours,” Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano said. “We are both different teams than we were last year in some ways but that’s just part of the story.
“Games like this are what it’s all about. Before the year started, it was ‘Mark the date.’ Well it’s here.”
The Lutcher-Plaquemine game set for 7 p.m. at PHS’ Canova Stadium, helps highlight a Week 8 schedule that features several key district contests.
Lutcher (4-3, 1-1) dropped its league opener to the surprise team of 6-4A, St. Michael (7-0, 1-0) but beat Tara (3-4, 1-1) to set up the showdown. Plaquemine (6-1, 1-0) beat Belaire in its district opener last week.
“We’ve had a good week of practice and have done everything we can to prepare,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “We’ve had some injuries, but at this point everybody has those.
“Regardless of what happens I do believe we’ll have a playoff-type atmosphere and that’s something that will help both of us later on.”
What happens Friday is a point for debate, though the script will be different for one key reason. Last season, Julius Maracalin ran for 207 yards, including the game-winning touchdown, for the Green Devils in a 36-32 win. Maracalin went on to earn all-state honors and is now at Southeastern Louisiana University.
In his place PHS relies on a diverse offense led by quarterback D’Morea Wicks, who has over 500 yards rushing and passed for 193 yards last week.
Austin Mitchell, who scored four first-quarter TDs, and Preston Russ are two of the running backs. Lutcher quarterback Jontre Kirklin returned from a injury last week. Kirklin has passed 1,214 yards and also is a mobile running threat.
The player who has the Green Devils’ undivided attention is LHS defensive lineman Sully Laiche, the 6-4A Defensive MVP a year ago. Laiche and Bulldogs will face a large Plaquemine line led by twins Kevin and Kenny Dotson. Kevin Dotson is a University of Louisiana at Lafayette commitment.
“Sully Laiche may not be the biggest or the fastest lineman, but he’s one of the best,” Plaquemine’s Distefano said. “The team that can run the ball and control the line of scrimmage has the advantage and will probably win.”
Tara hosts St. Michael at Olympia Stadium in the other 6-4A game of note.
In District 5-5A, there are three key match-ups. Fifth-ranked Catholic High (6-1, 2-0) travels to McKinley (4-3, 1-1) in one key game. The others are Dutchtown (3-4, 1-1) at East Ascension (4-3, 1-1) and St. Amant (3-4, 0-2) at Woodlawn (5-2, 1-1).
Ninth-ranked Zachary (6-1, 3-0) hosts Walker (0-7, 0-3) in District 4-5A. The other league leader, Denham Springs (5-2, 4-0) travels to play top-ranked University High (7-0) in nondistrict action. Also in 6-4A, Scotlandville (4-3, 2-2) hosts Live Oak (3-4, 2-2).